Will Cannabis Help Get Rid of Pimples?

Matt Weeks January 13, 2021 0 comments

How to get rid of pimples – is cannabis the answer?

Cannabis is a multifaceted and medically useful substance, but it’s also complicated. For instance, sometimes a higher dosage of cannabinoids can provoke anxiety rather than soothe it. And the way in which a consumer takes cannabis can alter its effectiveness. Additionally, there are studies that suggest cannabis may cause acne while others say it’s exactly how to get rid of pimples. What? How can this be?

The two-faced behavior of cannabis stems from its deep and only partially understood interactions with the human endocannabinoid system, which is a complex part of the central nervous system that has a hand in regulating everything from hunger and pain to mood.

So what’s the deal — does cannabis cause acne or is it Mother Nature’s own Noxzema?

how to get rid of pimples represented by mouth of pimpled asian or latin man smoking cannabis

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Does Cannabis Cause Acne?

The notion that cannabis leads to facial blemishes may not have any clinical evidence, but it has two pretty solid theories undergirding it.

The first theory goes like this: basically, when cannabis is smoked, it causes a spike in testosterone production. High testosterone causes the skin’s oil glands to shift into overdrive, and more facial oil means more acne. The theory is easy to understand, but like so many simplistic explanations, it’s not exactly true.

First, cannabis does not cause an increase in testosterone. Research published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence (1991),[1]Block, Robert et al. (1991). Effects of Chronic Marijuana use on Testosterone, Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Prolactin and Cortisol in Men and Women. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. … Continue readingshows that cannabis consumption mostly likely has no apparent effect on testosterone levels. Accordingly, a more recent literature review in the Journal of Urology (2019),[2]Payne, Kelly S. et al. (2019). Cannabis and Male Fertility: A Systematic Review. Journal of Urology. Vol. 202, Issue 4, Pages 674-681. https://doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000000248.seconded this notion, finding no relationship between cannabis and testosterone levels.

However, the second theory has legs. It goes like this: Cannabis causes the munchies, and eating junk foods leads to acne.

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That one has a ring of truth to it — or at least truthiness. Eating high-carb foods, such as bread and chips, can worsen acne flare ups, according to the Mayo Clinic. Greasy food, however, does not (that’s another myth).

But, cannabis doesn’t cause the munchies for Doritos specifically. Overall, choosing carb-rich treats to munch on may contribute to acne, but different choices can be made and the chance of an acne flare up is reduced.

The Truth About Cannabis and Acne

There is actually a greater pile of evidence showing that cannabis may help prevent pimples.

There are three causes of acne: too much oil, dead skin accumulation in the pores, and bacteria buildup in the pores. Two of the leading causes of those conditions are stress and hygiene. Stress causes increased oil production and bad hygiene leads to pores clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells.

Fortunately, cannabis treatments have been shown to help on both fronts. CBD has powerful anti-stress properties. It has been shown to reduce anxiety, which can calm the body and stop the face’s overproduction of oil. A great stress fighter is CBD, which is potent enough to calm even difficult anxiety disorders.

But, cannabis also helps keep bacteria off skin. Five major cannabinoids — CBD, THC, cannabichromene, cannabigerol and CBN — have been shown to be potent antibacterial agents, according to research published in the Journal of Natural Products (2008).[3]Appendino, Giovanni et al. (2008). Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study. Journal of Natural Products. 71 (8), 1427-1430 DOI: 10.1021/np8002673.

Although, it’s also true that smoking is bad for the skin. Even second-hand smoke can cause changes in the skin’s structure, which may or may not lead to more acne. So, while it’s definitive that smoking is bad for overall health and this can be obvious in visible skin condition, it’s still scientifically unclear whether or not smoke contact on the skin will directly cause acne.

how to get rid of pimples represented by young female puttign cream on face

How to Get Rid of Pimples the Green Way

If you want to know how to get rid of pimples, take a look at the latest additions to the beauty section of any pharmacy. Cannabis-infused skin care products have exploded recently, and for good reason. CBD reduces inflammation in the skin, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (2012).[4]Xiong, Wie et al. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. Journal of Experimental Medicine. Jun 4; 209(6): … Continue reading Essentially, reducing skin inflammation helps open pores and leads to less clogging. This helps to keep skin looking healthy and reduces the redness of acne flare ups.

CBD can also reduce the production of facial oil when applied directly to the skin. A study from the Journal of Clinical Investigation (2014)[5]Olah, A et al. (2014). Cannabidiol Exerts Sebostatic and Antiinflammatory Effects on Human Sebocytes. Journal of Clinical Investigation. Sep;124(9):3713-24. doi: 10.1172/JCI64628. Epub 2014 Jul 25.found that with CBD administration, the creation of sebum oil accordingly decreases, which directly impacts acne.

This doesn’t mean that cannabis is a substitute for a good diet and basic hygienic practices like face washing. But, if the goal is to understand how to get rid of pimples, cannabis could have a strong role to play.

From buying a high-quality CBD facial scrub or moisturizer to making one at home, cannabis topicals are an easy and effective way to keep skin healthy and looking good. Further, taking an edible or dropping some CBD oil is a great way to prevent anxiety-caused acne, and keep the face clear during high-stress times.


Author avatar

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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